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[tbl] Line wrapping (Was: Setting the widths of the columns)

From: Frederic Chartier
Subject: [tbl] Line wrapping (Was: Setting the widths of the columns)
Date: Sat, 29 Apr 2023 16:04:28 +0200

On 2023-04-28 16:39 -0500, G. Branden Robinson wrote:

> Per tbl(1) from groff 1.23.0:
> [...] 
>     Ordinarily, a table entry is typeset rigidly.  It is not filled,
>     broken, hyphenated, adjusted, or populated with additional inter???
>     sentence space.

This sentence was added in version 1.23, wasn't it ? This point
needed to be emphasised. One thing about tbl that threw me
earlier this week was its attitude to line wrapping.

Call me crazy, but I expected that tbl would by default do
whatever it takes to make the table fit in the available
horizontal space. There are no scroll bars on a piece of paper.
I also assumed that "T{" ... "T}" was purely a syntactic device,
Troff's counterpart to here-documents. It took me a while to
understand that "T{" has another, unrelated function : it's the
secret password to make tbl wrap text.

Neither the original tbl papers nor the book "Unix text
processing" went out of their way to point out these IMO very
non-obvious facts. (Or if they did, it was too subtly for me to
notice.) I don't know if Groff's tbl(1) is quite there yet but
it seems headed in the right direction.

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